- WIST is my personal collection of quotations, curated for thought, amusement, turn of phrase, historical significance, or sometimes just (often-unintentional) irony. Please feel free to browse and borrow.
- 17,540 quotes and counting ...
Topic Cloudaction age America argument author beauty belief change character death education ego error evil faith fear freedom future God government happiness history humanity integrity leadership liberty life love morality perspective politics poverty power progress religion science society success truth tyranny virtue war wealth wisdom writing
- I've been adding topics/tags since 2014, so not all quotes have been given one. Full topic list.
- * Visual quotes (graphics, memes) only
- “Wealth and Poverty,” speech, National… (7,125)
- “The Lesson for Today,” A Witness Tree (1942) (5,845)
- Agamemnon, ll. 175-183 [tr. Johnston (2007)] (5,801)
- “The Triumph of Stupidity” (10 May 1933) (4,908)
- Nobel prize acceptance speech (10 Dec 1962) (4,874)
- “On The Conduct of Life” (1822) (3,945)
- “In Search of a Majority,” Speech,… (3,838)
- “Get a Knife, Get a Dog, but Get Rid of… (3,688)
- “A Cult of Ignorance,” Newsweek (21 Jan 1980) (3,139)
- “The Historian as Participant,” Daedalus… (3,132)
Most Quoted Authors
Author CloudAdams, John • Bacon, Francis • Bible • Bierce, Ambrose • Billings, Josh • Butcher, Jim • Chesterton, Gilbert Keith • Churchill, Winston • Einstein, Albert • Eisenhower, Dwight David • Emerson, Ralph Waldo • Franklin, Benjamin • Fuller, Thomas (1654) • Gaiman, Neil • Galbraith, John Kenneth • Gandhi, Mohandas • Goethe, Johann von • Hazlitt, William • Heinlein, Robert A. • Hoffer, Eric • Huxley, Aldous • Ingersoll, Robert Green • James, William • Jefferson, Thomas • Johnson, Lyndon • Johnson, Samuel • Kennedy, John F. • King, Martin Luther • La Rochefoucauld, Francois • Lewis, C.S. • Lincoln, Abraham • Mencken, H.L. • Orwell, George • Pratchett, Terry • Roosevelt, Eleanor • Roosevelt, Theodore • Russell, Bertrand • Seneca the Younger • Shakespeare, William • Shaw, George Bernard • Stevenson, Adlai • Stevenson, Robert Louis • Twain, Mark • Watterson, Bill • Wilde, Oscar
- Only the 45 most quoted authors are shown above. Full author list.
- 23-Sep-20 - Molly Bawn (1878) | WIST on “Of the Standard of Taste” (1739).
- 21-Sep-20 - Shenandoah (1965) | WIST on (Attributed).
- 21-Sep-20 - ***Dave Does the Blog on Leviathan, Pt. I, ch. 13 (1651).
- 17-Sep-20 - The Devil's Disciple, Act 2 (1897) | WIST on Thus Spoke Zarathustra [Also Sprach Zarathustra], Part 2, “Of the Compassionate [Von den Mitleidigen]” (1892) [tr. Hollingdale (1961)].
- 17-Sep-20 - Tristam Shandy, 1.17 (1759-67) | WIST on Religio Medici, Part 1, sec. 25 (1642) [ed. Symonds (1886)].
- 16-Sep-20 - Dave on “To Those Born Later [An die Nachgeborenen],” (1938) [tr. Horton (2008)].
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacriﬁce, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magniﬁcently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an inﬁnite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in deﬁance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
“The Optimism of Uncertainty,” The Nation (2 Sep 2004)
Adopted from Zinn's essay of the same name in Paul Loeb (ed.), The Impossible Will Take a Little While (2004). See also Zinn, "A Marvelous Victory" (23 Feb 2004).
Added on 28-Nov-16 | Last updated 11-Dec-16